Archive | August, 2008

The Great Search for the Perfect Roommates

27 Aug

My roommate got a pet elephant. Then it got lost. It’s in the apartment somewhere. Stephen Wright quotes

Unless you are rolling in cash or you enjoy living by yourself (which also requires a lot of money) then after you graduate college you find yourself still needing and wanting to live with other people. This is a good way to save money and often times expand your social networks. Living with other people is a interesting experience and a great challenge. From my past experiences of living with best friends to strangers I have some very important points I think one should consider before signing a lease.

1. Make sure you are honest with the people you move in with, this will avoid so many possible issues you have no idea!

2. Decide if you want a house mate or a friend I am very talkative and love meeting new people so I want to form relationships with the people I live with and be able to hang out with them in the house and outside of the house. Some people just want to share rent and nothing else

3. Cleanliness matters if you think if someone is messy it will not be a big deal but when you share a living space with someone and a bathroom and they leave it in shambles every day it will really start to bother you. On the other hand if you are a messy person just try to be respectful and keep the mess to your own room.

4. Contributing to the shared space this may seem like a mindless topic, but from my experience it is not at all. For example someone I once lived with had never lived with other people and didn’t understand the concept of bringing anything to the apartment, not even one utensil and for some reason had serious issues with buying toilet paper which is just annoying!

5. Money and responsibilities it is vital to decide who is paying what in the beginning so that there are no misunderstandings or fights in the future, it is also best to divide up who will handle each bill so that everyone is helping out, so someone pay for electricity, someone else for cable and someone for trash/water. Another thing that is best to do from the get-go is divide up house responsibilities even though you think it is innate for someone to just take out the garbage it will not happen unless you create a schedule with assigned cleaning and other house duties.

No matter how much you prepare for you roommate situation you can never fully predict the outcome but being as prepared as possible and open with the people you are planning on living with is the most you can do until you move in. If you are lucky hopefully you can create some new relationships along the way and learn more about how to live with all different people which isn’t always a fun experience but in the end is helpful because you will have a broader understanding of how to deal with all types of people!

Inspiration from Mad Men

27 Aug

I’m not sure if you have been watching Mad Men as religiously as I have been lately, but if not you must watch. It profiles an advertising agency in the 1960’s and deals with many issues from women rising in the workplace, to marriage and family. I was very inspired by a quote by one of the characters in last Sunday’s episode. She said to, “Pick a job and then become the person that does it.” Wow, all this time I had spent worrying over my future and current career and I had never thought of life this simply. 

I thought a lot about this quote, and realized what it is essentially saying: Pick a goal and actively pursue it. You can spend your entire life dreaming about one day becoming a writer, president of a company, counselor or athlete, or you can take charge and make it happen. Read books, find mentors, do an internship or another position in the same work environment, or get a second degree. Basically do whatever it takes to achieve your goal. 

As Tim Gunn says on Project Runway, ” Make it work!”

10 Tips to Stay Focused at Work

21 Aug

This blog is proof that I can get very distracted at work! It’s almost like I have a deal with myself that for every ten emails I write, or every project schedule I send out, that I can check PerezHilton, CNN, Talk Soup blog or Gchat with friends. But the problem with this, is once I start its hard to stop! It’s like the candy bowl by my desk, once I get a taste I can’t help going back for more. Here’s some tips I have that have helped me to stay focus and be more proactive during the work day:

1. Make a list of tasks for the day: Keep this next to you at all times, whether its on a bulletin board, notepad or a post it. A great tool is the Sticky application on mac computers. They decorate your screen with bright colors, are hard to miss and don’t end up cluttering the floor. My personal favorite is keeping a legal pad by my desk. In the morning I write all of my tasks, and it also is conveniently there when my boss gives me an important task to jot down.

2. Turn off Gchat, Aim and all other chatting services on your computer. They are a constant temptation and distract you from your work. Once Suzie starts telling you about her breakup, its going to be hard to break away from the convo to do some work.

3. Keep your desk and computer desktop clean at all times. You’ve heard it said many times before that a cluttered life is a cluttered mind. You will easily be able to access anything your boss or clients request instead of digging frustratingly through piles. And it’s a reflection of you, and who doesn’t want to be seen as organized and prepared?

4. Listen to Music: Music is a great way of keeping you entertained and settled into your work routine. It also drowns out distracting noises such as other people on the phone, printers, faxes and chatter. Be sure to make sure they are at a reasonable level and can’t be heard by other people on the office. 

5. Don’t procrastinate: If you do things right away instead of putting them off until later, you will not only produce better work, but prevent yourself from doing other distracting things to avoid doing the assisnment.

6. Wake up Earlier: Instead of blogging, reading other blogs and checking the latest political, world and entertainment news at work, do this before work in the morning. Wake up an hour earlier, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee while you write your blog and read the news. 

7. Take Breaks: I know it can be tempting to impress your boss and work through lunch and breaks to get a lot done. However, if you sit too long at your desk staring at your computer screen, you will get so bored that you will not want to do work at all. Make sure to take little breaks throughout the day, get some fresh air, get a drink and walk around. Try to eat away from your desk, even if it is in the break room.

8. Write your tasks for the day the night before: When you are intently watching the clock for the 10 minutes to pass before you have to leave, write down your priorities and goals for the next day. That way you will be productive from the moment you walk into work the next day and know exactly what to focus on. 

9. Stick to a routine: While all of us have different schedules, most of us have tasks that need to be done everyday. For example, everyday I need to  check and respond to email, check-in with clients, update the overall project schedule, and send email reminders to coworkers. Setting up a specific time each day to do all of these recurring tasks, turns it into a habit. 

10. Set up appointments on the calendar to speak with coworkers and clients: Instead of heading over to your coworkers desk and interrupting their work, schedule a specific time ahead of time to meet with them. Putting this into your calendar, will make sure you don’t forget and they have time to really think about what you are asking them. They will do the same for you and you will no longer have people coming to your desk to ask questions throughout the day and disrupting your focus.

Why Your Major is Minor

15 Aug

I remember several times in college asking myself, “Did I choose the right major? Is it too late to switch?” I was constantly worried about this because I was pretty sure that my major would play a huge if not main role in my future career. After-all, the first thing every interviewer would ask is “What college I went to” and my Major and minor, right? Wrong!!

In the many interviews I have had since graduation, I’ve found 2 things to be of far more interest to the employer than your major: Experience and Personality. Coming directly out of college, you may think that employers do not expect you to have work experience but it is quite the opposite. You won’t qualify for the 5-10 years of experience positions, however internships and any work experience you have is essential for a career right out of college.  Most Employers have been in the same torn up converse you have and know how it can be a challenge to juggle work with school. However entering the workplace with any part time positions, internships and portfolio work immediately qualifies you for some great jobs.

If you were a bio-chemistry major with not enough time to eat in college let alone work, what you lack in experience you can make up with in personality. If you go into the interview with a positive can-do attitude and relate school or classes and brief work to the position you are applying for, that will make you a valuable candidate for their company. Would you rather hire someone with less experience but with ambition and a positive attitude or someone who has a year plus experience but lacks drive and energy?

Instead of worrying over your major, choose something you love that will get you great recommendations from faculty and time to really explore what you are passionate about in both work and school. In the end, It’s personality and experience that will land you that entry level position you have always dreamed of.